Montero Mining and Exploration Ltd

Montero Mining and Exploration Ltd

December 13, 2011 09:00 ET

Montero Strengthens Technical Team to Advance the Mineral Processing and Hydrometallurgical Work on Ore from the Wigu Hill Rare Earth Project in Tanzania

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 13, 2011) - Montero Mining and Exploration Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:MON) ("Montero") has assembled a highly experienced team of mineral processing and chemical engineers including Geoff Skelton, former head of development at the Impala Platinum hydrometallurgical refinery and Richard Amata, former Senior Chemist with Molycorp Minerals Inc. The team is comprised of in-house employees and consultants to support the development of a rare earth metals separation refinery to process ore material from the Wigu Hill Rare Earth Element Project in Tanzania.

Dr. Tony Harwood, President and Chief Executive Officer of Montero commented, "Montero's new engineering team will lead and support Mintek's Mineral Processing and Hydrometallurgical optimization process to a feasibility study and eventually construction of a process plant and refinery operation. The team have a proven track record in minerals processing and hydrometallurgical test work, process design, feasibility, construction and production operations and will be key in achieving our plan to fast-track mining and production of rare earths from the Wigu Hill Project in Tanzania. Securing the right team to fast track development of the mine and refinery is a crucial step towards production at Wigu Hill."
The team will be headed by:
  • Geoff Skelton, an Industry recognized hydrometallurgist with over 30 years of experience in Base and Precious metals hydrometallurgical plant design and operations in South Africa. Geoff graduated with a B.Sc. (Hons) Chemical Engineering from the University of Exeter, UK. He spent 21 years with Impala Platinum Refineries filling roles including General Manager and Project Manager where Geoff was responsible for the metallurgical development of state of the art hydrometallurgical separations processes that are incorporated within Impala's Enhanced Precious Metals Refinery in Springs, South Africa.
To support Geoff Skelton in his roles as the Refinery Process Leader, Montero has assembled a team consisting of consultants and in-house employees to handle various sectors namely:
Hydrometallurgy to produce saleable Rare Earth Chemical Products from a Refinery:
  • Mike Freeman (Chemical Engineer and Techno-Economics) - Mike holds a B.Sc. cum laude in Chemical Engineering from University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Mike has 40 years of experience in the chemical and metallurgical industries with knowledge on rare earth processes in South Africa. He provides Montero with chemical engineering, mineral economics and financial modeling skills. Mike is a Registered Professional Engineer and has worked for Bateman Engineering, Sentrachem and Mintek.

  • Richard Amata (Technical Development Manager) - Richard holds a B.A in Chemistry from Northwestern University, a M.A in Physical Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara, a M.Sc. in Environmental Science from The Ohio State University, and a Master's of Business Administration with Honors from the University of Houston, Texas. Richard has over 20 years of experience including positions as a Research Chemist for Akzo Chemicals Inc; as a Senior Chemist for Syracuse Research Corporation, Blue Line Corporation, Rhodia's Rare Earth & Catalysts Division, Perstorp Coatings, and, most recently, with Molycorp Minerals Inc. at Mountain Pass, CA. Richard has very relevant experience in the Rare Earths industry including the development of analytical methods for Rare Earth Ores and SX materials using XRF methods. He has contributed to the successful industrialization of Neodymium based catalyst systems with Rhodia and developing REE products from laboratory scale to batch production scale with Blue Line Corp. Richard has managed a production laboratory in support of Rare Earth unit operations.

  • Russell Heins (Solvent Extraction Process and Operations Consultant) - Russell holds a B.Sc. (Hons.) Minerals Engineering from Birmingham University, UK. Russell has over 25 years in the African mining and metallurgical industry, with previous work experience including a position with Gencor Metallurgical Services as well as Richards Bay Minerals where he worked on ilmenite smelting. He was recently Operations Director for a small independent tantalite mining and refining company. Russell is a Chartered Engineer registered with the UK Engineering Council.

  • Serame Mashoeng (Process Engineer) - Serame holds a B.Eng. from The North West University (formally Potchefstroom University), in South Africa. Serame has six years of experience in R&D and projects covering feasibility studies, design and project execution. His experience ranges from minerals processing and hydrometallurgy, working previously with companies such as Anglo American Research Laboratories, Bateman Engineering and CDM Group.
Mineral Processing of the bastnaesite concentrate from a mining operation at Wigu Hill:
  • Dr. Adrian Hind (Comminution Consultant) - Adrian holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in Physics and a PhD from Imperial College, London University, UK. Adrian has 41 years of experience mainly with the South African Chamber of Mines Research Organization where his research covered instrumentation, underground processing of ores, backfilling and the development of comminution devices and floatation cells for the South African Mining Industry.

  • Martyn Hay (Flotation and Operations Consultant) - Martyn holds a B.Sc. (Hons) Minerals Processing from Leeds University, UK and M.Sc. from Strathclyde University, UK. Martyn has over 30 years of experience in the minerals industry and is a process consulting and flotation expert who has served the mining industry world-wide. Martyn specializes in milling and flotation operations as well as associated laboratory and pilot test data to characterize ores and predict plant performance.

This team will be supported by:
  • Mike Evans (Project Manager, Wigu Hill) - Mike holds an M.Sc. from Natal University, Durban, South Africa. Mike has over 40 years of experience as a geologist. He spent 26 years working with Phelps Dodge Corporation and has worked in over 15 countries where he has directed mineral exploration and target generation, on-site evaluation of properties and the management of feasibility studies. Mike will support the team with respect to geology, mineralogy and sampling for test work programs.

  • Mike Spratley (Project Mining Engineer Consultant) - Mike holds a B.Eng. (Hons.) from the University of Wales, University College Cardiff, UK. Mike has 26 years of experience within the Minerals Industry in positions including managing the production in deep level gold mines for Anglo American Gold followed by consulting assignments in project management of productivity and social development programs for Anglo Platinum, Sasol, Impala Platinum and Eastplats. Since 2009 Mike has been General Manager of Bastillion Ltd., a South African Geological, Exploration and Mining Consultancy. He supports the team with respect to mining, strategy implementation, research for test work programs, project management and development of the Montero business model.

The team will work together with Mintek, Montero's Research provider and partner to support further research and development on the hydrometallurgical processes, minerals processing for the mining operation and to develop Montero's approach to the rare earth separation stage refinery and requisite test work campaign. Montero's team is committed to optimizing the metallurgical process flowsheet focused on implementing the most cost effective metallurgical process to minimize refinery costs and provide the best return to shareholders.

About Mintek

Mintek, South Africa's national mineral research organization has over 25 years experience in REE extraction and is one of the world's leading technology organizations specializing in mineral processing, extractive metallurgy and related areas. Working closely with industry and R&D institutions and reporting to the South African government's Minister of Mineral Resources, Mintek offers a complete range of process development services, from preliminary bench-scale investigations to large-scale piloting and integrated flowsheet development in support of bankable feasibility studies. Engineering design, plant construction and commissioning are carried out in conjunction with international partners. Comprehensive laboratory and piloting facilities for sample preparation, milling, flotation, physical separation, smelting, leaching, pressure leaching, and metal recovery and purification are supported by internationally accredited analytical laboratory and mineralogical services. For further information on Mintek, please visit

About Montero Mining and Exploration

Montero Mining and Exploration Ltd. is a mineral exploration and development company engaged in the identification, acquisition, evaluation and exploration of mineral properties primarily focused on rare earth elements (REE), phosphates and uranium in Tanzania, South Africa and Quebec, Canada respectively. Montero is focused on adding value through the acquisition and exploration on properties, which have the highest potential for future discoveries or development of existing mineral resources into mineable reserves. We remain engaged in the development of our flagship Wigu Hill Rare Earth Element Project in Tanzania, which is a high-grade, undeveloped Light Rare Earth Element deposit. The Company's current focus is on updating the initial NI 43-101 Mineral Resource Estimate and advancing hydrometallurgical testwork with Mintek. With the rising prices of REEs and China's control over export quotas, it is becoming imperative that the rest of the world develops new rare earth resources to meet the increasing demand from "green" technology and high-tech applications.

Montero's growth strategy is to develop the Wigu Hill Rare Earth Element project and to bring this to account through eventual rare earth production and cash flow, while operating in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. We will continue to add value for all stakeholders through the development of our portfolio of properties. Montero trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol MON.

Signed. Dr. Tony Harwood - President and CEO

This News Release includes certain "forward-looking statements". These statements are based on information currently available to the Company and the Company provides no assurance that actual results will meet management's expectations. Forward-looking statements include estimates and statements that describe the Company's future plans, objectives or goals, including words to the effect that the Company or management expects a stated condition or result to occur. Forward-looking statements may be identified by such terms as "believes", "anticipates", "expects", "estimates", "may", "could", "would", "will", or "plan". Since forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and address future events and conditions, by their very nature they involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results relating to, among other things, results of exploration, project development, reclamation and capital costs of the Company's mineral properties, and the Company's financial condition and prospects, could differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements for many reasons such as: changes in general economic conditions and conditions in the financial markets; changes in demand and prices for minerals; litigation, legislative, environmental and other judicial, regulatory, political and competitive developments; technological and operational difficulties encountered in connection with the activities of the Company; and other matters discussed in this news release. This list is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect any of the Company's forward-looking statements. These and other factors should be considered carefully and readers should not place undue reliance on the Company's forward-looking statements. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement that may be made from time to time by the Company or on its behalf, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT: Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

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